Nanaimo’s Sikh community will be celebrating the birth of Guru Nanak Dev, the first guru of Sikhism, who was born in 1469. Religious observances and festivities will happen at Gurdwara Miri Piri Darbar Nov. 15-17. (NEWS BULLETIN photo)

Nanaimo’s Sikh community celebrates 550th birthday of religion’s first Guru

Guru Nanak Dev Ji Gurpurab among the most sacred of Sikh religious festivals

Nanaimo’s Sikh community is about to join others around the world in a celebration of the birthday of the first Guru of Sikhism.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji Gurpurab is one of the Sikh religion’s most sacred festivals and celebrates the birth of Guru Nanak Dev, the first of the 10 Sikh Gurus who were the spiritual teachers who shaped Sikh beliefs.

2019 marks the 550th anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanak Dev who was born in Nankana Sahib, Pakistan, in 1469 and died in 1539 in Kartarpur, Pakistan.

Shiv Sharma, a spokesman for Nanaimo’s Sikh community, said this year’s celebrations included opening the border between India and Pakistan for people of the faith to travel to and celebrate in the regions of Pakistan and India’s Punjab where Guru Nanak Dev spent much of his life and are considered the heartlands of the religion.

“The other thing is a big development in the area where Guru Nanak Dev spent most of his time in Punjab … so big highways are going to be made and big things are happening in India,” Sharma said.

Nanaimo’s Sikh community is celebrating with prayer and the singing of the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy scriptures, Nov. 15-17, at Gurdwara Sahib Miri Piri Darbar, 305 Prideaux St. Guru Nanak Dev’s birthday is celebrated on the full moon day of the month of Katak, October-November, but Sharma said celebrations will mostly be held on the weekends before and following Nov. 12.

“We are celebrating all over the world, on the weekends, everywhere,” Sharma said.

Those celebrations will also include the Guru Nanak Dev’s basic teachings, which included the importance of meditation, hard work, tithing and sharing of food. He also made four spiritual journeys, known as Udasis, in his lifetime throughout south Asia and the Middle East.

Sharma will speak about the meaning and cultural significance of the celebration on an upcoming edition of his radio program Apna Sur Sangeet, which broadcasts every Sunday at 2 p.m. on CHLY 101.7.
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